Being an optimist has its perks. Experiences and events in life have varying effects on one’s perception and overall outlook on the world around them. Some encounter negative things and lead negative lifestyles while some embrace the negative as a positive character contribution. As the cliché saying goes: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I don’t have a PH.D framed on my wall beside a bunch of ostentatious certificates of achievement, nor am I a self-help guru; I’m simply an ordinary guy on a quest for wisdom. I feel sometimes that with the right attitude and resilience the fleeting time we have here on earth can be constructive and fun.
It Could Be Worse
When I was in high-school I can remember feeling awkward and unsure of myself. We moved around a great deal and I never stayed at the same school for more than a year. My parents didn’t make that much money. I would get stuck wearing Wal-Mart clearance rack specials and walking around in cheap $20 brand less sneakers that would loudly scream “I’m poor!” In high-school, it seemed 85% of who you were was what you wore; the other 15% was who you hung out with. I was always the “new kid”, so I always felt anxious and on the spot. It took work but I was able overcome my lack of self-esteem by realizing that there were kids worse off than I. Some families couldn’t even afford “Everyday Low Prices”. I was fortunate enough to have clothes on my back and shoes on my feet, and to be sitting in a public school getting a free education. There are roughly 50 million Americans living in poverty, and I was worried about what brand of sneakers I was wearing. It could be worse.
One thing that keeps me cheerful and rooted in confidence is my family and friends. My mother and her husband, my father and my six siblings, my wife, daughter, and unborn son all contribute to who I am today, and who I want to be. Without them and their unconditional love and support, it is safe to say that I wouldn’t be as content as I tend to be. Without the great people that I’ve encountered on my journey through life and friends I’ve made along the way, I would likely be a wreck. The statement: You are who you surround yourself with, holds a firm validity. Being exposed to constructive, encouraging individuals has helped to win a battle against down-beat, off-putting ways of life.
Goals: Do Something!
Having an idea of what one wants to achieve in their life and working hard to do so, is in my opinion the best anti-depressant there is. I reason that depression and negativity sometimes stem from not having goals, and aspirations. That is not to say that sometimes there aren’t biological or environmental factors. I am not an expert on such topics but it makes sense that if you live with purpose, you lead a more meaningful life.
Read: Expand Your View of the World
I have read a substantial amount of all kinds of literature. Anything from newspaper articles to an 8 book fiction series is fair game for me. Being well read has been a wonderful advantage in every aspect of my life. It has helped me academically, socially and spiritually. Reading about different perceptions and perspectives of the world has enabled me to leave my own stagnant stands on things and see them in a new light. I feel the more you read, the smarter you get, and the happier you will be.
Wait There’s More!
Being positive and happy should be a natural inclination. Unfortunately for some, it is not. The above advice is only the appetizer of a three-course-meal. Eating well, staying healthy, compassion for others and having fun can also help one to stay positive. The fact is the possibilities are endless, and I am not the only one that will tell you this. Most of the happy and successful will say the same and more.